First photos of Apple's earliest iPhone prototype

Photos of one of Apple's earliest iPhone photos have recently been revealed.

Ars Technica has unearthed photos of one of the first iPhone prototypes from 2005, a 5x7 monster that looks more like an iPad than the modern day iPhone. That, of course, isn't all that surprising given that Steve Jobs once explained that Apple's iPhone initiative was borne out of its work on a tablet computer.

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The photos, released to Ars by a former hardware engineer at Apple, show that Apple's first prototype was hardly the type of sleek hardware that would go on to define Apple's actual iPhone releases. On the contrary, the photos reveal an iPhone prototype with USB ports and even an Ethernet port. The former Apple employee explained that Apple was never planning to include said ports in a shipping version of the iPhone but rather included them in prototypes for development purposes.

As seen in the gallery above, this early prototype has a number of ports that we’re used to seeing more commonly on computers than on mobile devices, including USB ports, an Ethernet port, and even a serial port. Apple never intended for all of these to make it into the final product, of course—our source said that because this was a development prototype, ports like Ethernet and serial were included simply to make working on the device easier. Still, “at that early date no one knew what [the final device] would be,” the source emphasized, highlighting the constantly changing nature of Apple’s development process.

You might remember that the Apple/Samsung trial from this past Summer yielded an absolute treasure trove of iPhone prototypes over the years. Most of those photos, however, were of iPhone models that looked rather similar to what Apple subsequently released.

In contrast, the photos obtained by Ars show what the iPhone looked like way back in its infancy. 5x7 in form and about 2 inches thick. By way of contrast, and to show how far Apple has come, the iPhone 5 is 2.31 inches by 4.87 inches and is only .30 inches thick.

via Ars Technica

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